Select Committee on Defence Thirteenth Report


1. We visited Iraq in June 2006 to see for ourselves the environment in which UK Forces are operating and to meet senior members of the new Iraqi Government. Our predecessor Committee visited Iraq in 2003 and 2004 and published two reports: Iraq: An Initial Assessment of Post-Conflict Operations (published in March 2005) and Lessons of Iraq (published in March 2004).[1] This report is not a comprehensive examination of the political and security situation in Iraq. Our purpose is to highlight some of the issues which were raised with us during our visit.

2. In Basra, we met UK troops at Basra Air Station, Basra Palace and the Shaibah Logistics Base and we received briefings on the current security situation in Multi-National Division (South East) (MND (SE)), the challenges involved in security sector reform, and the prospects for regional transition to Provincial Iraqi Control (PIC). We also met the Commanding Officer of the Iraqi 10th Division, General Latif, and the British-led Military Transition Team assisting the 10th Division in attaining operational readiness. In Baghdad, we met the new Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri Al-Maliki, the Deputy Prime Minister, Dr Salaam Zawba'i, the two Vice Presidents, Adel Abdul Mehdi and Tariq Al Hashimi, and the Speaker of the Iraqi Parliament, Mahmood Mashadani. We also met the US Political Military Counsellor, David Litt, and visited the NATO Training Mission to Iraq. And, we received briefings from the UK Ambassador, William Patey CMG, UK Embassy officials and Department for International Development (DfID) representatives, and met with senior UK military personnel working with Coalition Forces in Baghdad. An outline programme of our visit is provided in Annex B to the report.

3. On 20 June 2006, we took evidence from Rt Hon Adam Ingram MP, the Minister for the Armed Forces, Lieutenant General Nick Houghton CBE, Chief of Joint Operations, Permanent Joint Headquarters (PJHQ), and Dr Roger Hutton, Director, Joint Commitments Policy, Ministry of Defence (MoD). We have also drawn on the evidence provided by the Secretary of State for Defence, Rt Hon Des Browne MP, and senior MoD officials on 11 July 2006.

4. While in the USA in May 2006, we visited the UN headquarters in New York and the US Administration and Congress in Washington DC and discussed the security situation in Iraq and the prospects for transition to Provincial Iraqi Control with both UN and US officials.

5. We appreciate the assistance provided by our specialist advisers: Mr Paul Beaver, Professor Michael Clarke, Rear Admiral Richard Cobbold, Air Vice Marshal Tony Mason, Dr Andrew Rathmell and Brigadier Austin Thorp.

1   Defence Committee, Third Report of Session 2003-04, Lessons of Iraq, HC57-I; Defence Committee, Sixth Report of Session 2004-05, Iraq: An Initial Assessment of Post-Conflict Operations, HC 65-I Back

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Prepared 10 August 2006